Apple Pay Launch in China Delayed Over Lack of UnionPay Support

Chinese iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners eager to use their device as their wallet will have to wait because negotiations between Apple and local banks have hit a roadblock and no “timetable for cooperation has been set”, reports Caixin Online (via MarketWatch).

Apple Pay jetblue

You may recall that earlier last year reports surfaced about Apple’s next stop for launching its mobile payment platform being China. There were voices about iOS 8.3 adding support for bank cards from UnionPay, the only firm handling interbank payments in China. Well, iOS 8.3 is already here but doesn’t support UnionPay. There’s no word yet from Chinese developers running iOS 8.4, as Apple might include that, but the first beta was seeded yesterday.

But the U.S. tech company is still struggling in its relationship with UnionPay, people close to the talks say. Those sources also say Apple has not made any breakthroughs in talks with Chinese banks, which would also have to agree for the Apple Pay system to work.

Another source said the obstacles were over profits. In the United States, Apple Pay says it gets 0.15% of the 2% fee paid by merchants for each credit-card payment and half a penny for each debit card payment. But Chinese banks argued those charges were too steep, an employee of a large bank said.

Apple Pay was launched in October 2014 in the US, and we’ve since see reports of its adoption rate rising at a rapid pace. Rumours have said China and the UK should be next, as negotiations are at an advanced stage, and some even mentioned a possible March launch in Canada.

March has passed, but still there’s still been no word about Apple Pay. Analysts, however, quickly began speculating about the next possible target countries. The consensus seems to be a country where iPhones are popular and where the wireless payment reader technology Apple relies on is widely available. That sounds like Canada. Or not?